X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Archive for March, 2001

The X-Files Official Site: Chat with Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban

The X-Files Official Site
Chat with Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban

Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban all serve as executive producers on The X-Files, as well as on The Lone Gunmen.

Mutato1121: Is writing and planning the story lines for The Lone Gunmen any different than from when you do The X-Files scripts?

Vince: It’s different in that it’s a comedy. But we find the plotting to be just as intricate as when we do an episode of The X-Files.

John: In some ways it’s more difficult than The X-Files because you not only have to have a great story but it has to be funny too.

Frank: Let me put it this way, most weeks when we turn in the scripts the crew in Vancouver wants to know what we were smoking. So I’d say in many ways the scripts are even more out there than The X-Files.

JNewton: I loved the episodes “Unusual Suspects” and “Three of a Kind” on The X-Files. Is that basically what LG episodes are going to be like?

Frank: Absolutely! If you like those shows, you’ll love these.

Vince: Plus, with the new shows, we have two great new characters…Yves Adele Harlow, who is a wonderful femme fatale, and Jimmy Bond, who in some ways will become the fourth Lone Gunman.

SamanthaJ3: Will TLG be strictly comedy? Or will it have drama, too?

John: You’ll laugh and you’ll cry! We consider this show Mission Impossible with geeks…so you’ll have adventure, thrills, but also some pretty wild humor because our three leads, the Lone Gunmen, their world is upside down from The X-Files.

Frank: Hopefully you’ll know when to laugh and when to cry.

Vince: It’s definitely a comedy but we have a couple episodes coming up that have some nice emotion to them. Actually they all have a certain amount of emotion to them…and we feel it balances nicely with the comedy.

Oliver: Isn’t it ironic to launch a spin-off comedy during this gloomy season of TXF where desperation, adversity, boredom, and ultimately (so far) tragedy prevail?

Frank: Good point. Uh-oh!

John: You mean to say alien babies aren’t funny?

XPhreak: Alright, spill it: WHO’S THE FATHER OF SCULLY’S BABY?

Frank: We’ll learn in The Lone Gunmen that Frohike is the father of Scully’s baby. Stay tuned!

jaybfox: Do you have a particular character you like to write more than another? For instance, do you have a preference amongst the Lone Gunmen?

Frank: We love them all!

Vince: The more we like them, the more we realize how unique each of their voices is. Byers is the voice of reason, the moral center of the show. Frohike is a curmudgeonly man of action. Langly is kind of a smart aleck. And Jimmy is a big goofy guy with a lot of heart. Yves, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery at first. But we learn that underneath her hard shell there’s something else going on.

Frank: John relates best to Frohike. Because he knows what it’s like to be a sex symbol against your will.

John: Yay!

Sarah: What about Harlow, then? What voice is she?

Vince: Yves has many layers. She comes across as tough and sarcastic and because of that she’s fun to write. Sarcasm is always fun to write. As the series progresses, we’ll see whole new sides to her, which I don’t want to elaborate on too much here. It would spoil the fun.

Frank: It involves dancing.

LauraCap: Byers got a crack at Suzanne Modeski. Will Langly and Frohike ever get lucky in love?

Jewlz: Will there be any love interests for the gunmen?

John: Langly has a very interesting moment early in the season with a cow.

Vince: Actually a bull.

Frank: That story is autobiographical.

Vince: But it didn’t go on my permanent record. I was under 18 at the time.

xfmegan: Are there any plans to correlate the X-Files mythology into the Lone Gunmen?

Frank: The brain surgery required boggles the mind. However, there will be crossovers in terms of characters and some storylines that involved the Lone Gunmen when they were on The X-Files. So you’ll see some comic characters from The X-Files crossing over, as well as some serious ones getting a chance to show how funny they can be.

jaybfox: Can you tell us anything about the LGM episode that Skinner appears in?

Vince: Case in point. Mitch Pileggi, our own favorite assistant director of the FBI, Walter Skinner. He’ll be joining The Lone Gunmen in an upcoming case.

Frank: It’s top secret. But you get to see Skinner like you’ve never seen him before.

Vince: That’s for sure!

jaybfox: Are we going to get to find out more about the backgrounds of each Lone Gunmen? Like…is Langly’s name Richard and Ringo’s a nickname and why…that kind of thing?

John: We get glimpses of their past. Early on you get to see them as children.

Frank: You also see their characters fleshed out in greater detail than ever before.

John: You’ll even get to see where they sleep at night.

Vince: By the way, Langly’s first name, Ringo, doesn’t come from Ringo of the Beatles.

Frank: What??!

Vince: In my mind, he’s named after the John Wayne character in Stagecoach whose first name of course was Ringo.

John: Naturally, when you see Langly, you think John Wayne.

Vince: Either John Wayne or Fabio.

Erynn: So do they sleep in the same room?

Frank: You’ll have to watch to see. Picture the three little bears.

Vince: We promise a scene in which at least two of the characters spoon. Ratings will immediately drop afterward.

albinopigeon: Do we get to see frohike in his jammies??

Vince: We definitely get to see him in his Hugh Hefner bathrobe.

John: You get to see him in Leiderhosen.

Frank: You actually get to see him in the pink, taking a bath. With a woman scrubbing his back. If that doesn’t draw viewers…

Vince: Survivor, look out!

lizascorner: What are TLGM’s cases gonna be like? Will they be x-files weird or something more everyday-like?

Frank: They are definitely not “every day.”

John: But they are not quite the cases Mulder investigates.

Vince: So far they are not paranormal. Instead they are real-world cases involving big business and foreign espionage and evil scientists….

Frank: And midget wrestlers and tango dancers and super-intelligent chimpanzees.

Vince: Like I said, “real world.”

maddict: Where do they get the money to pay for all the techo gear? Do they have other jobs?

Frank: They trade for sexual favors.

Vince: Just kidding.

moonpunkie: What type of gadgets will the LGM be playing with?

Vince: In one episode, they’ve built themselves a pretty nifty MRI machine out of spare TV parts.

Frank: Just about every week they’ve got cutting-edge technology that’s either where the real world is right now or where we will be soon.

Vince: And Yves has some gadgets that make the Lone Gunmen pretty jealous. She’s got a few tricks up her sleeve that they don’t have.

Mutato1121: Now that we have seen Chris Carter and Mark Snow in front of the camera, are any of you guys planning on taking a little role in The Lone Gunmen?

Frank: We are waiting for the right moment to spring ourselves on the American public.

Courtney_fanofVinceG: Hey Vince, are you going to direct any episodes of TLG? I love “Je Souhaite” and it would be a shame for your talent to go to waste.

Vince: Thank you very much! I would love to. I think the three of us in the future will all be directing Lone Gunmen episodes. At least I hope so, but right now we are all busy with just the writing of the show and the post-production, etc. But hopefully next season. Provided there is a next season.

Tshe: Will all the LGM be stand-alone episodes? Or will you have a continuing storyline?

Frank: Eventually we will have continuing storylines and mythology separate to The Lone Gunmen. But having said that, I think there’s a great deal of continuity in The Lone Gunmen series, and you get to see how the relationships, particularly with the new characters, develop over time.

amyh: Is the plan for the Lone Gunmen series to be an alternate universe type situation from TXF, where nothing from either show dovetails, or are there some crossovers? If so, where should we be looking?

Vince: I wouldn’t call it an “alternate universe” — these are the same 3 guys who help Mulder and Scully. But in this show we see what they do the other 99% of the time.

John: We like to think of The Lone Gunmen series as their day jobs — what they do when they are not helping Mulder, Scully or Doggett.

Vince: As you will see, they get by pretty well on their own, which is why you won’t see a lot of Mulder and Scully, because the Lone Gunmen are heroes in their own right and they solve their own problems themselves.

Frank: Plus, we can’t afford Mulder and Scully.

Vince: That’s the real reason!

sdana: Will we see John Gilnitz or will we hear about him…? We’d love to put a face to the name!!

Frank: Oh, yes! He’s an (expletive deleted)!

eire_scully: How much input (if any) has Chris Carter had?

Frank: Chris Carter loves the show and has been as involved as he can be while doing two TV series at once. He wrote the fourth episode, “Three Men and a Smoking Diaper,” which should go a long way toward destroying his reputation for quality television.

Charybdis: Hi guys. I’m really looking forward to the show, but I worry about TXF losing 3 of its best writers! Will you all still write eps for TXF if it continues?

Frank: We don’t know about next year, if there is a next year. But this past year we’ve all been killing ourselves trying to make both shows as good as possible.

Vince: All three of us love both shows. But it’s been awful hard to do both simultaneously. But we really want this new series to get a shot on the air. It’s very close to our hearts.

ChiA_PeT_20o1: Wow, this is the coolest! When did the idea first hit you to do a show on the TLG?

John: After the two X-Files episodes “Unusual Suspects” and “Three of a Kind” that starred the LG, we all immediately saw — especially after “Three,” which is a model for the series. When we saw how the characters carried the show, all three of us thought they could be stars and that this show would work.

mully23: Will there be an “antagonist” like the Cigarette-Smoking Man on LGM?

Frank: You’ll have to wait and see. As we said before, the mythology of this series rolls out slowly.

bliss2001: Will the LGM travel around the US? (like Mulder and Scully)

Vince: Yes, they will travel, but only as far as their 1972 VW Microbus allows them.

John: Gone are the days of Mulder and Scully’s expense accounts.

Vince: These guys have it tougher because they don’t have guns. They don’t have power of arrest, and they run out of gas occasionally.

Frank: But they do have sex appeal to spare!

Vince: At least Frohike does.

Delmo456: Looking at the titles of the Lone Gunmen episodes, it seems like you guys are doing parodies of a lot of movies (which will be great). Is that a correct assumption?

Vince: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. One funny title we have, which is “Like Water for Octane,” is an episode about a water-powered car. One of our staff writers came up with the name and we loved it when we heard it, although it has nothing to do with the Mexican magic realism or the plot of the movie Like Water for Chocolate.

Frank: Do expect to see a parody of a very popular one-hour drama on the FOX network.

albinopigeon: Are you going to parody the x files?

Frank: Refer to the previous answer!

Dilby: Speaking of the 1972 VW microbus, just how many…enhancements…are in that thing?

Vince: Well, I’ve been lobbying for nitrous oxide, a tank that would boost its maximum speed to 160 mph, but so far Frank and John won’t let me put that in.

John: Let’s just say their van is their home away from home. Imagine the Lone Gunmen office on wheels.

Vince: So far, one thing we know about it is that it’s got a pretty cool periscope camera in the roof.

KATEDVM: A mattress in the back maybe? LOL

Frank: Ha ha ha. Season 2!

deedee77: Will there be time-stamps, and will time play an important role, as it does in The X-Files?

Frank: Yes. We at Ten Thirteen don’t know how to tell stories without them.

Vince: We call them “legends.”

Frank: In our own minds! Chiller: How are the boys adjusting to having their own series?

Vince: There’s an awful lot of squabbling over who has the biggest trailer. Just kidding!

Frank: Actually, we’ve beaten up the most on Frohike, who is not surprisingly called upon to do the most stunts. But I think they are all having a good time and it’s quickly become an ensemble of five actors who enjoy working together.

Vince: All five are a pleasure to write for and to work with.

ak47deadly: Are they going to get to the bottom of the Florida election crisis?

florence: Will the LG ever go back in time and try to uncover the killer of JFK?

Frank: Very dead-on questions.

Vince: We do have a character named Chad. Does that count?

Jewlz: How many episodes will be in the seasons?

Frank: Only 13.

Vince: Lucky 13, we hope.

JTR555: Could we possibly see Frank Black appear? THAT interaction would be a riot!!!

Vince: That would be great because, of course, Frank Black is a hilarious character. Actually he would be a pretty good straight man, come to think of it.

KATEDVM: When will you know if you get picked up for next season?

Frank: Probably not until May, officially. Although, if the show is a massive hit, that’s a foregone conclusion.

Mutato1121: Would you guys like to spill any juicy tid bits about The X-Files to us Philes while we wait a month?

Frank: To all those online people who are furious at Ten Thirteen for killing Mulder, please remember that David Duchovny is contracted to appear in the rest of the episodes this season.

Vince: It’s going to be a lot like Weekend at Bernie’s. Mulder will be dragged from investigation to investigation. Occasionally, Scully will tie him to the roof of her van.

Frank: I’ve been touched by the love and support of those fans who complained about us killing Mulder.

Madison: Is the X-File finale written yet?

Frank: We are in the process of writing them now.

John: We already told you that Frohike is the father.

mully23: Do you guys put personal notes into the story lines like Chris Carter does with 11:21?

Frank: We often put the names of friends and loved ones into our scripts.

Vince: I try to put some reference to my girlfriend Holly into every episode I write. I do this because it makes everyone say “Awww!” when they hear it. And also because it helps me get chicks. Just kidding, Holly!

Jewlz: Like in XF, with episodes “Post-Modern Prometheus” and “X-Cops,” these were shown in a unique camera-style etc. Will there be any in the LG show?

Frank: No. This show is pretty much hack work. Just kidding…we have a superior DP (director of photography) and crew, almost all of whom we have worked with before, on either X-Files, Millennium or Harsh Realm. As with each of those shows, we are always trying to do the best work possible and I think, visually, we are extremely ambitious for what is primarily a comedy series.

Sarah: Any chance that Braidwood will get a chance to direct?

Frank: Did Braidwood ask that question?

John: Is that Tom Braidwood logging in?

Frank: We would love for him to direct one. We just don’t know when we can afford to lose him as an actor to make that happen.

KATEDVM: Does that mean that the Gunmen won’t be in an X files movie if there is one?

Frank: No way! We would love to have the Gunmen in the next X-Files movie and they will continue to be in The X-Files TV series.

Oliver: Frank – you said in an interview that The X-Files’ mythology will be wrapped up by the end of the season. Can you confirm that? Where does that leave you creatively – and us as fans – in the event of a Season 9?

Frank: What was I thinking? Whatever I said, what I mean to say is that 8 years of the series will come to a close this May, regardless of whether there is an X-Files next season. I actually believe most of the important questions about the mythology have already been answered, believe it or not, and you will see some new ones asked in upcoming shows.

StarlightM42: Can you talk about the scene where Doggett first meets the LGM? It was a classic!

Frank: I wrote that scene and it was very long and I felt sure that we’d end up having to cut it, but Doggett proved a great straight man to the Gunmen. We ended up using almost every line.

Vince: Doggett would be a fun guy to get on The Lone Gunmen show. Hopefully that will happen at some point.

Mutato1121: Are any of you working on anything other than The X-Files or Lone Gunmen series?

albinopigeon: How many hours do you work a week??

John: How many hours are there?

Frank: I figure each of us works at least 70-80 hours a week, which leaves very little time for doing anything else.

Max42: Will we be getting any closure for Byers and Susanne Modeski in the new series?

XPhreak: Will Susanne Modeski make an appearance?

Vince: I’d like to see Susanne Modeski come back at some point. She’s a fun character and Byers’ unrequited love for her would be interesting to address. Look for it in an upcoming episode. Provided we go past this first season.

Adamrs: Will Morris Fletcher be on “The Lone Gunmen”?

Frank: I wouldn’t be surprised!

Vince: I wouldn’t be surprised either too!

John: I wouldn’t be surprised either too!

Erynn: What’s the most evil thing you’ve done to the gunmen so far?

Frank: There are so many….

Vince: But it’s done with love.

John: Each week we try to top ourselves.

Vince: But not to give anyone the wrong idea. We don’t want to torture them. It’s just that we find ourselves putting them into increasingly bizarre situations in the hopes of it being funny.

Frank: One thing you will realize about the Lone Gunmen in their own series is that as smart as they may be behind a computer, they are extremely inept at many other things in life.

Vince: Just like the three of us are.

John: Speak for yourself!

Vince: This is the first real power any of us have had in our lives, and we’re using it, baby!

Erynn: What has been your favorite episode so far to write?

Frank: I have truly loved every episode we’ve done. They’ve all been funny and sweet and exciting. I particularly like two we did recently, one involving death row and the other involving the tango.

Vince: I have to agree. Every episode that we’ve worked on becomes more and more fun. One thing I should say, too, is that this show is really sweet at its core, meaning that we love and respect the characters even though we get them into some odd situations. But in our minds, at least, it’s never mean-spirited.

John: Each episode is different in so many ways that it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite. They are all great for different reasons.

Scully7: How long does it take you guys to come up with a kick ass script?

CRSJ: Does it take the same number of days to create a LGM episode as an XFiles episode? I heard you work very long hours to make an XFiles episode.

John: In TV production, you write as long as you can before shooting, so as the season goes on, you have less time to make as good a script. It’s not how long it takes, it’s how long we have.

Vince: That’s why as the season progresses, the episodes get crappier.

John: Vince is very tired. It’s time for his medication.

florence: Did you ever write something that the actor refused to do?

Frank: No, but I’m still trying.

florence: How did you come up with each Lone Gunmen’s name?

Vince: Glen Morgan and Jim Wong initially created the characters and gave them the last names Frohike, Byers and Langly. For “Unusual Suspects,” we gave them first names. John Fitzgerald Byers is named for JFK, of course. That was part of the plot for that episode. He was born the day after JFK was assassinated, hence the name. And the names Ringo and Melvin we just kind of pulled out of a hat.

Courtney_fanofVinceG: I skipped my calculus homework just to spend the evening with you three. What do you think of how devoted we x-philes are?

Vince: God bless you! Now, DO your homework… No, seriously, we love all the fans because we wouldn’t be sitting here doing this chat without them. We wouldn’t be employed! I’d be spraying Windex on the sneeze-plate at the salad bar at Wendy’s. Frank would be selling shotguns at Walmart, and John….

John: I’d go back to male modeling.

Vince: Yes, the underwear section of the Sears catalog. Your work is quite good.

Max42: How’d you guys come up with the idea to make the show so “interactive,” with the e-com-con site and what not?

Frank: We have a brilliant Internet producer named Robin Benty. She comes up with all these great ideas and then we pretend like they are ours.

Chiller: Do you ever have trouble keeping all the pieces of the conspiracy together in your heads (and scripts)?

John: It’s easy because it’s all true!

Frank: Yes, are you kidding? Who doesn’t? I am amazed and confounded that people have been willing to follow The X-Files conspiracy for 8 years now, not only willing, but still very interested. I can’t believe such a large audience is interested in such a complicated, even convoluted, storyline. It’s been so rewarding.

FOXcom_Host: Thanks to Vince, John and Frank! Say goodbye to them!

John: Tune in Sunday night!

Vince: Watch our show! We don’t want it to die a horrible death like Harsh Realm did.

Frank: It’s been wonderful chatting with you. We love this show and we hope you do, too!

People.com: Interview with Chris Carter

Interview with Chris Carter
Andrew Emmett

X-Files Creator Turns to Light Side

In a room at New York City’s FOX building, Chris Carter, arguably one of the most recognized and prolific producers in television, is sitting back, relaxed and ready to talk. Outside, snow is falling, but Los Angeles native Carter, 44, dressed in a bright-yellow polo shirt and jeans, looks ready for the beach. With piercing blue eyes, shoulder-length blond hair and an ever-present smile, he is surprisingly sunny for a man who has created some of TV’s darker images.

But the truth is, this is the man who had his first job writing for Surfing magazine, and still brings a board to work at The X-Files. “I think it’s interesting that he still surfs,” actress Gillian Anderson, who plays the once-sceptical Agent Scully, comments later in a phone interview. “He’s usually here [at the X-Files set] quite early and leaves quite late. He’s constantly writing and re-writing, yet still comes to work with a surfboard on his car.”

He’s a prototypical surfer dude

Carter was 12 when he began surfing. He and his younger brother Craig, 39, now a professor of physics at MIT, grew up in the middle-class L.A. suburb of Bellflower, Calif., (father William, a construction worker, and mother Catherine, a housewife, are both deceased). After graduating from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in journalism, he got his dream job — Surfing magazine, where he led an idyllic life surfing and writing.

It wasn’t until 1982 when he met Dori Pierson, now 52, a screenwriter, that Carter thought seriously about becoming a writer. Pierson influenced more than his career choice: The two were married in 1987. They live in Pacific Palisades, Calif., not far from the L.A. set of The X-Files. After a few years writing for Disney, Carter signed a deal with FOX in 1992 to create new projects for the network. His first project became The X-Files, the show that catapulted him to superstar producer status, became a film and turned actor David Duchovny into a household word. It’s now in its eighth seaon on FOX.

Now Carter’s in town to talk about his new show, The Lone Gunmen, a comedy spinoff from The X-Files.

“[The three heroes are] loveable geeks, passionate about their operation, which is this little magazine they publish each week that takes on the stories that nobody else believes in or wants to handle,” he explains. So far it sounds similar to the FBI agents of The X-Files, who investigate mysterious cases. But this time Carter has lost the darkness of X-Files and his other series, the shorter-lived Millennium and Harsh Realm. “It’s a comedy with some well-placed heart,” he says. “I think for us it’s just a good storytelling vehicle.”

Godfather for Gillian Anderson’s daughter

A friendly man, Carter enjoys close relationships with the people he works with. He’s the godfather to Gillian Anderson’s daughter, Piper, 6. Anderson says he is “incredibly supportive, incredibly inquisitive and a wonderful storyteller.” Asked if he is a typical “Hollywood type,” she laughs and says, “I think he aspires to be in a sense, but I think it’s distasteful to him at the same time.”

Carter says his relationship with Duchovny is also smooth, despite the suit the actor filed in 1999 against Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (which produces The X-Files) which basically claimed that he was being cheated out of millions in series-related profits. More to the point, Duchovny’s suit alleged that the studio had paid Carter a substantial amount of money to remain silent on the issue.

“I think we have gotten past the misunderstanding, which is what it was, it was where it was really a result of vertical integration of business and friendship getting confused,” says Carter today. “I think that’s now been sorted out.”

For now Carter says he’s happy to be working with the FOX network. “I’ve done good by them and they by me.” His contract calls for him to produce one more series. “More dramatic than The Lone Gunmen,” he adds. When viewers can expect to see it will all depend on what happens with The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen. Right now Carter and his production company, Ten Thirteen, which is named for what he considers his lucky numbers (it’s his birthday, 10/13) “have more work than four men can handle.”

But there’s still time for the four men — or at least Carter — to catch a couple of big waves.

Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose

Charlie: In 1993, Chris Carter created a television show that quickly turned into a pop culture phenomenon. The X-Files has drawn millions of devoted fans, an intense internet following, and inspired a hit film. The show launched its two stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, to stardom. It also made Chris Carter one of the most powerful television producers in Hollywood.

[clip from XF pilot of Mulder and Scully meeting]

Charlie: Now in its eighth season, The X-Files remains Fox’ highest-rated drama and a linchpin for the network. It has inspired a new Fox spinoff series called The Lone Gunmen. Chris Carter is the creator and executive producer of both shows and I’m pleased to have him here for the very first time. Welcome.

Chris: Thank you.

Charlie: Good to have you here.

Chris: Thank you very much.

Charlie: Why X-Files? Do you know? I mean, why do you think it just connected?

Chris: It, well —

Charlie: I mean, the obvious stuff, like good writing and good acting, and all that.

Chris: Right. That’s the simple and complicated formula.

Charlie: Yeah.

Chris: I think it was maybe a show that was of its time. It, uh — I think it represented a certain amount of, sort of, growing paranoia. Technology was sort of taking off, the internet was taking off, we were feeling a little alienated, as technology tends to do. And, uh, without those cell phones I don’t think I could have told these shows, actually. So I think it was — I think it was sort of a mood, sort of a pervasive mood in the country that sort of wanted something like this, and there is nothing scary on TV, which is really the reason I even came up with The X-Files.

Charlie: ‘Cause there was nothing scary on TV?

Chris: Nothing scary on television. When I was a kid there was a show on called The Night Stalker — and I’ve told this story now how many times. It starred Darren McGavin and it was great. It was actually written by this man Matheson, who’s so famous for writing great Twilight Zones and so much other great science fiction, and originally written by Jeff Rice, and it was the scariest thing I’d ever seen in my life and I could have watched it every night of the week. And I was 13 or 14 at the time, and I carried that with me and finally I had a chance after having worked in the industry for a few years to do what I wanted to do, and this was the first thing I — this was the first idea I really got to bring to the screen.

Charlie: So the idea for X-Files comes from The Night Stalker. In a sense, there’s a link.

Chris: Yes. Richard Matheson’s original screenplay about these vampires. There was this character, Carl Kolchak. He would go out — he was a newspaper reporter — no one would believe him. He’d go out and find all these wonderful things. And he was the believer, kind of like Mulder, and I’m sure it was the inspiration for that character.

Charlie: Did you have some sense, I mean, this is what turns you — this is what you like and so therefore this is what you want to make?

Chris: Right. Yes, exactly. These are the kinds of stories I like to watch.

Charlie: Okay. Now, what’s the shared characteristic of the people who like these kinds of things?

Chris: Um, I don’t know… First of all, it’s just good storytelling. It’s good mysteries unraveling in sort of unpredictable ways, but it’s two characters. It’s a point/counterpoint. It’s a believer and a skeptic taking these stories through. And the stories actually are based on a tremendous amount of good, hard science. We’re very careful to make the science good on the show.

Charlie: Where do you get that?

Chris: We have science advisors. We go to various and sundry people. Well, actually, the interesting thing I found out about science is that we’ve been taken to task a few times about the science on the show and what’s interesting is that you’ll find that scientists also have different — science is very subjective about what is accurate, what is not accurate. So science itself has a certain science fiction quality.

Charlie: Now, your role is executive producer and creator.

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: But does that mean — I mean, are you an executive producer in the same way that David Kelley is an executive producer, in that everything — every page, every line, every everything — comes through you?

Chris: Uh, no, but a tremendous amount of it comes from me, for eight years now.

Charlie: Is it as challenging and interesting as it was Day 1?

Chris: It’s actually harder in some ways. When you deal with this subject matter, which is — it sort of skirts or tends to cross several different lines into horror and science fiction and mystery and thriller, you tend to mine the easy ore, if you will, very quickly and the subject matter gets harder to come by. Actually, I think the show gets better but the show does get harder, and you are dealing with essentially two characters until this year and you need to take those characters through personal experiences, so when you get to 180 hours of the show, which is where we are now, that tends to — you’ve mined a lot of the experiences and you’ve developed those characters in pretty complete ways.

Charlie: Someone said to me the other day that they thought the relationship had changed, I mean, that it’s different.

Chris: Oh, it definitely is. Well, what’s happened this year is, for seven years we told these stories with a believer and a skeptic, Mulder and Scully —

Charlie: Right.

Chris: And what’s happened this year is that David Duchovny has opted to stay out of half of the episodes, so we had to create a reason for his absence and make him a kind of absent center.

Charlie: So, she’s the center now.

Chris: She’s the center and she is sort of moved from the skeptic to the believer, a reluctant believer — and these are over-simplifications of the characters — but we’ve brought in a new character who plays the sort of knee-jerk skeptic, played by Robert Patrick.

Charlie: Is that who we just saw?

Chris: That is not. That is actually — those characters were the — that was the Pilot episode, that was the original Mulder and Scully. They look so young there I almost don’t recognize them.

Charlie: Exactly.

Chris: We were all young then.

Charlie: Now, why is David not here?

Chris: You know, I think he decided —

Charlie: Busy with other things?

Chris: Yeah. To pursue other things. He’s a smart person, he’s a talented person. I don’t blame him for wanting to get on with his life. A TV series is very, very hard work and when you have a two-character show like this it tends to — it becomes your life, and I think that he wants a change of pace.

Charlie: Was it disappointing for you?

Chris: It was different. When he first —

Charlie: Were you hurt?

Chris: Uh … it’s funny, when a television show goes on for this many years and you’re close to the actors, you become a kind of family. And every family has its problems and its — and it becomes — the dysfunctional aspects come out and that’s not to say that they did, but what happens with a television show, the dysfunction is really — the business and the personal cross over and I think that’s what happened, certainly last year, is that those things got very confused.

Charlie: Okay. Roll tape. This is a scene from the new show — well, before I roll tape, let me just talk about it. So, why’d we get The Lone Gunmen? Where did that come from?

Chris: The Lone Gunmen are three computer geeks who have been on the series from the beginning — or the first season. They were comic relief and now we’re trying to give them a comedy show of their own.

Charlie: (laughs) All right, now, let me just get this, Chris. So you had these three geeks and you just … Did they — Was it just a natural or did you look at your hit show and say, “I got to figure out a way to have a spinoff here and this is the best thing I have going, right over here”?

Chris: The last thing I ever want to do is, like, just do something because it seems like a way to make money or an obvious idea. We’re really trying to expand our base of operations here and do something completely different, as we always do. And The Lone Gunmen is a comedy, and we’ve never done comedy in the ten years I’ve been at Fox doing, you know, these kinds of shows. This is a real change for us and it’s really a lot of fun.

Charlie: Do you want to do comedy?

Chris: Yeah, that’s where I began, so, uh …

Charlie: All right. Roll tape. This is a scene from The Lone Gunmen. We’ll talk more about it. Here it is.

[clip from the Pilot of the approach to the World Trade Center, ending prior to the climax]

Charlie: Okay, so what makes this compelling for you as the creator?

Chris: Well, this is a great action sequence, it’s a great special effects sequence, which is what we do so well on television and a lot of shows don’t do. It’s what makes The X-Files different.

Charlie: Right, right, right.

Chris: But it’s these three geeks, these three computer geeks basically foiling terrorists trying to destroy the World Trade Center, and they do it in a funny way and it’s what makes The X-Files good and it’s what is going to make The Lone Gunmen good, which is that the stories are very believable but they’re outrageous.

Charlie: Are you as confident of The Lone Gunmen as you were of The X-Files?

Chris: Well, you know, you’re never that confident because it’s a business of failure. Most things fail, and you have to get people to come watch it, and you’ve got to make sure that it’s working and shows need to develop, they need time to develop. Right now I can tell you that we’re doing all the things right that we do right on The X-Files. It’s really just a matter of the audience investing in these characters and liking what we do and liking the brand of comedy.

Charlie: I think everybody wants to know the answer to this, including me. “Trust No One” came from where?

Chris: From me.

Charlie: From your head?

Chris: Yes. Actually, when you … I came up with it and all of a sudden when you start reading literature, Shakespeare said it in different ways. It is a very common sort of mantra out there, but it seemed to sort of perfectly symbolize the show.

Charlie: And “The Truth Is Out There” came from…?

Chris: That came from me, too.

Charlie: From your head?

Chris: Exactly. Those opening titles really needed a button, and because I’m a writer first, language is always very important to me, and so all the shows that I’ve done really have had that kind of language, that sort of textual approach to the material. Charlie: You’re a writer first?

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: Isn’t that a cry to make a film, a feature film for you?

Chris: It is, but I mean —

Charlie: You have no time.

Chris: At the same time I have no time because I have a television job. Two television jobs now. Uh, it is, and the truth is there are movies out there — The Insider, I loved that movie. I thought it was a great movie and I’d love to make a movie like that. It wasn’t a popular movie. It was a critically-acclaimed movie but not a popular movie. So —

Charlie: Yeah. I’ve actually talked to Mike about that, Michael Mann. I mean, he thinks it may have had — when it was released, the whole series of factors that affected it.

Chris: Yeah. Well, I mean, he did a beautiful job. I can watch that movie over and over and I think that’s —

Charlie: What is it about that movie that appeals to you?

Chris: I love the character. I love the approach to the material. I love the storytelling.

Charlie: You love the producer character rather than the Wallace character or anybody else?

Chris: No, no. I mean, I love both of those characters. I love the Russell Crowe character, too. It’s a very sympathetic character who sacrifices so much for something he believes in. You know, it’s an American tragedy of sorts, but it’s a cautionary tale at the same time.

Charlie: But why aren’t you making — if you feel that there’s such a void, why aren’t you making — not that television isn’t great. I happen to think that there are more interesting things on television than feature films being made, personally —

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Charlie: When you look at the full spectrum of television.

Chris: I think you’re probably right.

Charlie: And more — and real opportunities now because HBO and Showtime, they’re all getting into, in a sense, making films, and I think you and I just saw a young man who just made a film called George Washington, who was on this show. I mean, there’s a young — I mean, he’ll be able to make feature films, I’m sure, but, boy, I’d be thrilled if he were making that kind of film also for television. And there have got to be other kids like him.

Chris: And it’s a matter of commercial success. You only get another chance if you do it well. But that’s true to an extent: I think smart people recognize talent and will take somebody —

Charlie: And not only recognize it, they just relish it, I think. Don’t you?

Chris: Oh, sure. I mean, everybody — it’s so hard to come by. The real good filmmakers are few and far between, I think.

Charlie: Are you doing everything you want to do? You.

Chris: Uhh … no. [chuckles]

Charlie: Tell me what you hunger to do, in terms of a kind of complete life.

Chris: Um … well, it’s funny. I tend to — I look back at my life and I tend to want to master things and I tend to want to — In a way, I’ve mastered the television format, although you never master it really because it’s so hard to keep hold of. But I began as a writer, so I would love to write a novel, and I have one in mind that I’ve wanted to write for so long, so if this writers’ strike happens that’s probably what I will do.

Charlie: So the reason you haven’t written this novel is because you haven’t had time to write it.

Chris: It’s really a matter of time.

Charlie: Now, what does it say to you if I would say, “Chris, you haven’t written the novel because you didn’t want to write the novel bad enough”?

Chris: Uh … You’re probably right. It’s probably some fear.

Charlie: I mean, if it was dying to get out, it would get out, right?

Chris: Um, I think that’s true to an extent, but television schedules are such that you are consumed by them. It is a … I liken it to stoking the fire in a runaway train every day.

Charlie: You gotta keep it up.

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: The casting of X-Files … was that easy for you? Did you have some instinct that these two were just perfect and they would have a kind of Moonlighting chemistry?

Chris: Yeah, I mean, I did, but, you know, the chem– the scene that showed, that was the first time I’d ever seen these two people act together and it was the first day of shooting on this show that I’ve been working on for over nine years now. You don’t know that chemistry is — that’s the magic, that’s what you cannot manufacture. And so when these people walk into this room and began acting together, you see something that you can only hope for, which is that thing that will elevate —

Charlie: You had never seen them together?

Chris: I had never seen them act together. They had auditioned separately.

Charlie: Not in rehearsal, not anywhere?

Chris: Not in anything — that’s not true, I’d actually seen them in a room once, but it was really in a very nervous room about, you know, “are we going to go forward with these two people?” And he was a very easy choice and she was a less-easy choice. No one knew of her, she looked much different than she looks now. She was disheveled. She had actually just moved from New York to California. She looked like an urchin. But she had a quality, she had a gravity and a bearing and a seriousness about her as a young woman that could make her believable as this scientist.

Charlie: She could hold her own.

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: Roll tape. Another scene from X-Files.

[clip of the diner scene from “Per Manum”]

Charlie: Dialogue.

Chris: Yeah.

Charlie: I’m addicted to dialogue. Are you? I mean, is that sort of what — do you care a lot about it or do you look for the sort of narrative to move your story forward and dialogue just sort of finds its place?

Chris: Well, dialogue is all-important. I think we’re unlike a lot of television shows, popular television shows, some of the best television shows on TV, because action and suspense — and because this is kind of a thriller each week — camera is so important. So you’re storytelling not with just dialogue but the camera helps to tell the story as well. But dialogue, of course. It’s got to sing or it just lays there.

Charlie: At the end of last season, what did you — what were you expectation about what you would do this season?

Chris: I didn’t know we’d be back this season. It looked very iffy. David Duchovny, one of the stars, did not want to come back, and he was in a lawsuit. It looked like the series may end. Seven years, that’s a nice long run. And I was asked if we could do the series without him. I said, no, I don’t want to do the series without him. He relented, he agreed to do eleven episodes and I had to figure out a way to do eleven episodes —

Charlie: Was that because of you? I mean …

Chris: Uh, it was because of — I mean, I could have said no and the series may have ended, but once again, I call myself a majority stockholder in this show. Fox could have done anything they wanted to do. Luckily we all, you know, were on — of one mind, ultimately, and we’re in our eighth year and looking forward to possibly a ninth.

Charlie: How long can it go?

Chris: It can probably go forever with the right elements, if it had the resources. Meaning if it had the good actors, if it had the good storytellers. I’m not sure how much longer I want to do it.

Charlie: You don’t know.

Chris: [chuckles] No.

Charlie: Could somebody reproduce today Twilight Zone, the kind of Rod Serling role?

Chris: I think so. I think this show owes so much to The Twilight Zone, although the stories are completely different. We both deal with the unexplained, but they were parables and allegories. I actually go back and watch The Twilight Zone alot and I think — we did an episode this year that was much like The Twilight Zone. It would be hard. It’s a tremendous amount of work. You have to have a tremendous amount of writing talent. And it’s all about that. It’s about vision. It’s about people who have stories to tell.

Charlie: Did he write all of them or none of them?

Chris: No, he wrote some of them and in fact he left the show after it turned from a half-hour to an hour show. So he had something he wanted to do and they took place in that little half-hour format.

Charlie: The Lone Gunmen is airing for three weeks in The X-Files’ timeslot on Sundays at 9 p.m. on Fox. It moves to its regular Friday night, 9 p.m. timeslot on March 16th. The X-Files, as you know, airs Sundays at 9 on Fox. Chris Carter, Executive Producer of The X-Files and Executive Producer of The Lone Gunmen. Thank you.

Chris: Thank you.

Charlie: Pleasure to have you here.

Chris: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Newsweek: Q&A with Chris Carter

Q&A with Chris Carter
Suzanne Smalley

‘The X-Files’ creator Chris Carter, whose ‘The Lone Gunmen’ premiered this week, takes on some of his critics

March 8 – The creator of “The X-Files” and its new spinoff, “The Lone Gunmen,” is as renowned in Hollywood circles for the years he spent chasing the perfect wave as he is for the millions of dollars he now commands for dark tales about government trickery and deep-seated paranoia.

Chris Carter’s days as a freewheeling hipster traveling the globe as an editor for Surfing magazine came to an end after he met his current wife, a screenwriter, who encouraged him to give storytelling a try. It didn’t take long for the former itinerant board bum to rise to the crest of his new profession, despite the fact that most toil for years in the sitcom ghetto before making it big. It was already the late 1980s when Carter started at Disney, where he penned several made-for-TV movies. By the early 1990s, he’d created “The X-Files,” which became one of the decade’s most iconic shows. Hardly a typical L.A. story.

And in person, Carter’s not your standard Hollywood power player, either. With his shoulder-length white-blond hair, piercing cobalt eyes and easy nature, Carter seems an unlikely mogul. In fact, the well-compensated Hollywood writer-producer swears he could walk away from the money tomorrow. And the nasty politics of the town are still tough for him to take. Newsweek’s Suzanne Smalley chatted with the man behind the mantra “The truth is out there,” who still makes time to surf every morning.

Newsweek: Are you surprised that the Lone Gunmen have become such a popular part of “The X-Files”? They’re just dorky, average-looking white guys.

Chris Carter: I’d say they’re below-average looking, actually. I think that’s what makes them interesting for me. They are geeks. I think all of us have a sort of inner geek. They speak to all of our more grounded selves.

Didn’t the fans want to see them get their own show?

I don’t think anyone ever even thought of it until we did it. I don’t think anyone ever said this is the ideal or obvious spinoff.

Will the new show be easier for the casual watcher to keep up with and grasp than its famously complex forerunner?

Yeah, in fact I don’t think you even would have to have seen “The X-Files” to enjoy “The Lone Gunmen.” It actually is a show that owes a lot to “The X-Files” because of where it came from, but it owes nothing to it each week because it is not self-referential. There’s a mythology in “The X-Files” that you kind of have to know about. But I still think you can walk into the show and pick it up very quickly. We’ve made a big effort to make sure that everything is understandable all the time.

No other producer is said to be as involved in their shows. Will “The Lone Gunmen” get the same level of attention from you as “X” gets? Some fans are concerned that you’re not as involved.

Well, it’s got really good people working on it in addition to me. I cowrote the pilot and wrote episode four, and we’ve done 12 episodes, so I am involved, just not to the level. There’s not enough time in the day.

You’re one of the most powerful writer-producers in Hollywood. Is the money ever a corrupting influence? How are you sure your greenlighting a project on its merits not just for the boatloads of cash?

It has nothing to do with money. Nothing I’ve ever done, of all the four shows I’ve done, have had nothing to do with commerce. It was all about telling stories.

Is it ever hard to be limited by network sensibilities? You’ve complained about all the time given to ads and about the censoring of themes like necrophilia and incest on “X.” What kind of daring themes or plot lines do you foresee on “The Lone Gunmen?”

I think that if we did anything that was daring it would be a comedic daring. I don’t think we’re looking to press the limits of anything that is a more hot-button topic, for example, abortion. We’re really looking to entertain people and make them laugh. So, if anything, I think it would be pushing the levels of what you could do comedically, probably physically on network television.

By physically you mean …

Seeing the Lone Gunmen’s butts or whatever.


I’m teasing.

You’re said to be very driven and hardworking. You write seven days a week.

Only because I have to.

Some in the industry have called you a megalomaniac and overly controlling, but your crews love you because you care. Who is Chris Carter?

I don’t know how people could call me a megalomaniac. I don’t even know how I would respond to that. What are we talking about? What does that mean? I don’t know. All I want is for the work that I do to be good. That’s my mania.

Did you really go to some “X-Files” fans’ Vegas wedding?

There was a couple that sent me a wedding invitation about four months before my birthday. They were getting married on my birthday, which happened to be Friday the 13th last year. And they were getting married in Las Vegas, and they sent a really cute invitation. And so I thought if people are brave enough to get married on Friday the 13th and send me an invitation and they’re getting married on the lawn at Caesar’s Palace, I’m gonna go surprise them and show up at their wedding. So it was a good way for me to get out of the office for half a day, show up, sign their marriage license, wish them well, and lose about $200 at the blackjack table.

Your show “Harsh Realm” failed after three episodes, and “Millennium” was never as big as “X” and even “The X-Files” star has faded a bit. Is their still a TV audience for conspiracy theories?

I don’t do a show about conspiracy theories per se. I just do a show about paranoia. I’m just trying to scare people and conspiracies happen to scare people. They’re an element of the fear. I think there is still an audience for something scary.

What conspiracy theories do you buy? Do you believe in aliens and government coverups?

Because I’ve never seen an alien or had an experience with one, I don’t believe in them. But I’m willing to believe the many people who say they have had an experience with aliens. Let’s just say I have very little faith in the execution of conspiracies, but I do believe they exist. I like the idea of a conspiracy so great and so vital that it is a perfect conspiracy. The thought of a character piercing the veil of that secret appeals to me.

Do the bad reviews ever get to you? For instance, “The Lone Gunmen” recently got trashed by USA Today.

That reporter has never said anything nice about “The X-Files” despite the fact that we’ve had 53 Emmy nominations. The audience obviously knows something he doesn’t. When someone criticizes you, and you know you’ve done good work, it can be maddening.

TV Week (Vancouver): Hip To Be Square – The Lone Gunmen Shoot From The Hip About Their Techno Geek Personas

TV Week (Vancouver)
Hip To Be Square – The Lone Gunmen Shoot From The Hip About Their Techno Geek Personas
Robin Roberts

[typed by Megan]

As much as Chris Carter would like you to believe his X-Files spinoff, which debuted last week, is a comedy starring the three stooges in question shift oh-so-slightly in their seats when you mention it. Sure, they’ll go along with it; they want the thing to succeed more than anyone. But you get the feeling they’d like to be taken a little more seriously, despite the delight they obviously feel at finding themselves stars of their own series.

“I don’t think any of us seriously for a moment think [we’d get our own series],” says Tom Braidwood (the short one). “We always joked about it, but…”

But Carter warned early on to the notion of a spinoff, if only for relief, comic or otherwise, for his X-Files stars, David Duchonvy and Gillian Anderson. “I think we first did an episode dedicated to them [the Gunmen] the year we did the movie, because we need some time off for David and Gillian,” says the snowy-haired one. “That was the first time the Lone Gunmen had their own episode. And I think it worked so well and it was so fun to do, and it was so successful, I think that’s the first time anybody believed there was a chance we could spin these characters off.”

But the new “stars” – Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood, all Vancouverites – weren’t among the believers. “The three of us certainly thought that it was a one-off, that we there to serve a purpose for one show,” says Braidwood, an assistant director as well as a series star. “No one was more surprised than the three of us when we were brought back the next year for two or three episodes.”

So in the dark about their destiny were they, the three found out about the spinoff in the Hollywood Trade paper Daily Variety. And you thought your office kept you out of the loop.

“All I remember about the first time I did the character was that I did this thing with my hands in my pockets the whole time,” says Harwood (the tall one).

“What?” asks a stunned Haglund (the blonde one), turning to his co-star. “That just doesn’t sound right.”

“Only to you,” shoots back Harwood.

“I only had one line,” recalls Braidwood, interrupting the hijinx, “which I managed to stretch into two by saying it twice, but I didn’t see a lot of depth in the character at that point.”

“The glasses I wore on the show were pulled out of a giant bag of prop glasses and then I threw them back in [after the scene],” remembers Haglund. “And when we were called back, I was asked to remember which one of the glasses were the ones I wore, and I couldn’t remember. So if you watch the first three seasons on DVD, you see my glasses change every episode. That was literally how much thought we had actually put into it.”

“In the first [X-Files] episode that featured the Lone Gunmen, we’d only had last names,” recalls Harwood. “So I remember that was part of the thrill [with the spinoff]. Getting the script and going, ‘I’ve got a first name! Hooray! Hooray!'”

“Yeah,” adds Haglund, “and before that, we had to make up a back story. We didn’t really know how the three of us would know each other, and then they did a flashback episode, where we learnt that we were selling illegal cable…”

“And I’d been working for the goverment,” cuts in Harwood. “Up ’til then, I thought I was one of those guys who comes to fix the photocopier and is always dressed in a suit and tie for some reason.”

“That’s right,” says Haglund, “and I thought I was a roadie for the Ramones or something.”

Always the more serious of the three – despite the fact he’s the one who tends to meet mud puddles face on in the Gunmen pilot – Braidwood says, “We actually came to the series already with a fair bit of background that had developed over the seven years on X-Files, particularly the two shows that concentrated on us. So in a way we’ve just kind of fallen into it naturally, and if anything’s grown, it’s more of a reationship on a day-to-day basis that we have with each other on the screen. And you see a lot more of that and how we relate to one another, how we develop stories, how we argue over how we’re going to handle a story. I’ts been an odd osmosis and, you know, a lot of people use the word ‘spinoff’ but I’ve never seen [The Lone Gunmen] as a spinoff. It’s sort of like what we do in our life when we’re not helping out Mulder and Scully. It’s like, ‘What do these guys do?” And this is what we do, this is our life, which is very different than The X-Files life.’

The very different lives of the trio computer hacking geeks while they were awaiting their big break. Harwood, who plays John Byers, graduated with a Fine Arts degree in theatre from UBC and quickly landed roles in locally shot series like EarthStar Voyager, 21 Jump Street, The Outer Limits, MacGyver and the feature Honey, I shrunk the Kids before snagging the role of Byers on The X-Files in 1994.

Before his groundbreaking part as Ringo Langly, Haglund was chasing stand-up stardom after earning a theatre degree from SFU. His TV credits include Vancouver-shot series like The Commish Sliders, Robocop and the upcoming animated series The Big Guy, while his film roles, like Harwood, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids as well as the upcoming animated feature Tom Sawyer.

Braidwood, meanwhile, had been toiling behind the scenes as an assistant director, director, production manager and writer in both TV and film before landing the role of Melvin. His producing and directing credits include DaVinci’s Inquest as well as the films Kingsgate, The Portrait, Walls, Low Visablility and Deserters. He’s assistant directed The Sentinel, Strange World, Pittsburgh, Mercy Point as well as Carter’s Millennium and The X-Files. He began acting at the Tamahnous Theatre Workshop Company, where he also wrote and preformed as a musician.

For the leads, being back home is a good thing, as it is for creator Carter, despite the ill will amoung some of the local press and fan base who took it as a personal insult when The X-Files moved to L.A. “I just think people really thought of The X-Files as a Vancouver show, and so when it left, it was hard,” he says. “It was hard for me, very hard for me. But I think all has been forgiven. I’d worked so long in Vancouver and I knew a lot of the crew. And we have three Canadian actors, so it just seemed a natural for us to go back, where we’d established a sort of winning formula. Vancouver could double as anywhere in America, it has so many great looks.”

And those looks will stand in for Anywhere, U.S.A., as the publishers of The Lone Gunmen, their fledging underground newspaper of rampant goverment coverups and conspracies, encounter evil villians while ferreting out the truth, with the aid of high-tech gizmos and blind bravery.

In the pilot episode, Byers’ father, a military man, dies, prompting Byers to, of course, believe it is a coverup for something more sinister. Along the way, he discovers his father is still alive, and the trio’s missing adventures lead them to the beautiful but mysterious Yves Adele Harlow – an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald – their competitor in the “information business,” who further flames consipracy fires. In a hilarious tribute to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, Braidwood at one point hangs from the cable while attempting to intercept incriminating documents. And that’s what will likely help this series succeed – Carter has wisely played it tongue in cheek, with a wink-and-nod awareness of the campy goofiness.

And although there will be crossovers with The X-Files, Carter, who’s also working on another Files film, insists, “Even though these guys come from The X-Files, the show doesn’t owe a whole lot to The X-Files I don’t think, except that it spawned these characters.”

TV Guide Online: The Truth Behind Gunmen's Lone Crossover

TV Guide Online
The Truth Behind Gunmen’s Lone Crossover
Michael Ausiello

X-Files creator Chris Carter had absolutely no interest in pumping the first few episodes of his spinoff series The Lone Gunmen with cameos by X symbols Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Robert Patrick. “I think that that’s a cheap way to get ratings,” Carter tells TV Guide Online. “We wanted the show to stand on its own, to live and breathe on its own.”

Well, judging by the ratings for last Sunday’s premiere, Gunmen got by without a little help from its friends. The quirky Fox series attracted a promising 13 million viewers and won all the major adult demos. Still, Carter “wouldn’t rule out” an attention-grabbing visit by one of his X-Files leads down the line, and reveals that he’s already scripted a crossover for supporting player Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Skinner). “I don’t want to give [the story] away, but I can tell you that [Skinner] gets very, very close to the character of Jimmy Bond (Gunmen hottie Stephen Snedden),” he teases. “It will be very interesting.”

Gunmen’s true ratings test will come on March 16 when it moves into its regular Friday at 9 pm/ET timeslot after subletting The X-Files’s home for two weeks. (A third and final Sunday Gunmen airs March 18.) Meanwhile, The X-Files returns with original installments on April 1, and Carter promises that viewers will finally see Mulder do something other than play dead during the final five minutes of every sixth episode.

“From here on out, you see [Mulder] in every episode,” Carter assures, adding that this is not about “punching a timeclock… this is about storytelling and it’s about being true to the story that we set out to tell, which is Mulder’s abduction. [Up to this point,] it would be very hard to do episodes with him in them completely.”

And regarding another season of The X-Files, Carter reports that “Fox is trying to negotiate a ninth year with me. I would come back under the right circumstances.” As would Duchovny, although it appears his terms would translate into even less screen time than he’s had this year. Says Carter: “I don’t think David would come back except for possibly in a very abbreviated way.”